WEIGHT loss surgery could become available to as many as 800,000 people with diabetes.
New draft guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) suggests obese people with the condition should be assessed for bariatric surgery – such as having a band fitted to reduce the size of the stomach.
At present, weight loss surgery is given to NHS patients who are morbidly obese with a body mass index (BMI) of over 40 or a BMI over 35 and who have another serious health condition such as type 2 diabetes.
Nice suggests people with a BMI of 30 to 35 should be considered for weight-loss operations on the NHS if they have been diagnosed with diabetes within the last 10 years, potentially allowing up to 800,000 people to be eligible.
Prof Mark Baker, from Nice, said: “Obesity rates have nearly doubled over the last 10 years and continue to rise, making obesity and overweight a major issue for the health service in the UK.
“Updated evidence suggests people who are obese and have been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may benefit from weight loss surgery. More than half of people who undergo surgery have more control over their diabetes following surgery and are less likely to have diabetes related illness; in some cases surgery can even reverse the diagnosis.”
Simon O’Neill, of the charity Diabetes UK, said: “Bariatric surgery should only be considered as a last resort if serious attempts to lose weight have been unsuccessful and if the person is obese.
“These people will still need to eat a healthy balanced diet and be physically active to manage their diabetes.”